Agricultural school gets need boost


May 17, 2016
Contributed Sydney Henry, chairman, Dolores Cochran Centre/Village Academy agriculture school, explains the mechanics of the Greenhouse to (from left) Patrice Smith-Sterling, Social Enterprise and Special Projects Manager, Digicel Foundation; Karen Zacca from the Sandals Foundation and Karlene Dawson, Digicel Foundation Board Director.

The Dolores Cochran Centre/Village Academy, an agricultural school in St Ann, has received a well-needed boost from the Digicel Foundation with an investment of approximately $3.5 million.

This has covered the cost of expanding the institution's infrastructure and the provision of pigs, goats, rabbits and other livestock which they desperately needed to improve the standard of lessons being taught at the institution.

Giving youths control

Speaking at the official handover recently, Sydney Henry, chairman and founder of the academy, said: "We are grateful to the Digicel Foundation for allowing us to facilitate the participation of youth in their long-term development. A big part of solving the problems that youth face is giving them control, giving them space to exercise their inherent abilities, build capacity and create a wholesome and purposeful life."

In response, Jean Lowrie-Chin, chairman, Digicel Foundation, said: "We remain committed to enhancing the lives of communities, and providing opportunities for community development in Jamaica."

The academy, which caters to 80 students annually, was formed for the development of entrepreneurs in agriculture. The institution caters to economically marginalised rural youth and provides them with an opportunity for self-improvement. Its aim is to have students matriculate with at least five Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) subjects, while providing adequate and relevant practical training and mentorship.

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